Is there anything more synonymous with paradise than dangling your feet off the deck of your own private villa teetering over the sparkling Laccadive Sea? Comprising a chain of 26 paradisiacal atolls, the Maldives beckons sunseekers with the promise of unbridled island-inspired luxury culminating in its many iconic overwater villas. Maldives overwater resorts here are a dime a dozen, so we’re charting a course through the (placid) waters with four Maldivian islands that offer truly exceptional overwater accommodation.
The Westpac Concierge service is made up of a team of travel experts who can help plan your entire stay in the Maldives. We’ll also make sure you enjoy some extra-special treatment during your stay such as room upgrades, credit to use at the spa and more. What’s more, if you’re a Westpac cardholder, you might already have access to this service.
Atmosphere Kanifushi: Maldives overwater resort with floor-to-ceiling lagoon views
Best for: an all-inclusive Maldives overwater resort experience
Just a 30-minute seaplane ride from Malé, this all-inclusive resort promises a beach holiday with all the trimmings. Here, the understated tropical elegance of the overwater bungalows takes a backseat to the marine-rich lagoon waters visible through the glass floor panels. Each villa comes equipped with deep-soaking tubs-with-a-view but, if you’re looking to splurge on extra luxury, the overwater pool villas feature private infinity pools primed for a sunset dip.
All overwater walkways lead to the shore and, should you find yourself on dry land, a melange of experiences awaits. A visit to one of the resort’s all-inclusive dining spots – including its signature vegetarian spot, Just Veg – is always on the cards, especially after a day of back-to-back activities. There are excellent diving sites in the vicinity, while snorkelling excursions are available for the wet-behind-the-ears water adventurer. If relaxation is more up your alley, there’s Akiri Spa by Mandara where Ayurvedic therapies banish any residual stress you may be holding onto.
📍 Lhaviyani Atoll
Gili Lankanfushi: Maldives overwater resort for island-style barefoot luxury
Best for: an abundance of water sports
If it’s a tropical escape you’re after, you’ll find it in one of the 45 thatch-roofed bungalows that dot the lagoon at Gili Lankanfushi. Only 20 minutes (by boat) from Malé, this floating sanctuary encourages you to switch off with a ‘no news, no shoes’ ethos. Each eco-friendly overwater villa is a private slice of paradise, enhanced by an airy open-plan layout, daybed-toting rooftop terraces primed for sunbathing, and waterside hammocks that are as good for a photo op as they are for an afternoon nap.
Sundowners can be taken overwater too, with a stilt-top bar serving cocktails for sipping as the sun dips over the horizon. The dining is similarly island style – you’ll be indulging in east-meets-west fusion cuisine with your toes in the sand and sampling sushi at Japanese fine-dining restaurant By the Sea. Come day, the adventurous spirit will be sated as activities abound – surf enthusiasts will feel right at home among the tubes and mellow swells of Cokes Break, while the fully equipped diving school is your key to unlocking the abundant coral reefs.
📍 North Malé Atoll
Taj Exotica Resort and Spa: Maldives overwater resort with the best bathtub vistas for a
Best for: all-round relaxation in a luxury island setting
Flanked as it is by a floor-to-ceiling window, the bathtub in your overwater villa at the Taj Exotica affords uninterrupted views over the Laccadive Sea. This sets the scene for your experience at the resort, which calls Emboodhu Finolhu, a private sliver of island just 15 minutes from Malé, home. Here, island living is made easy – simply step off your overwater villa’s private deck and into the lagoon waters for an early-morning dip to start your day. Every detail of the thatched bungalow-style accommodation is geared towards luxury, from freshwater infinity pools primed for a private plunge, to spacious decks perfect for sunrise yoga and sunbathing, and a 24-hour butler service to ensure you don’t have to lift a finger.
When you’re not exploring the rich underwater scenery – the scuba diving and snorkelling here is sublime – take your relaxation to the next level and head to the Jiva spa, where the saltwater breeze and undulating waves provide a serene backdrop to signature traditional Indian treatments and Ayurvedic therapies.
📍 Emboodhu Finolhu Island, South Malé Atoll
Meeru Island Resort & Spa: Maldives overwater resort with cabin-luxe style
Best for: island heritage with an eco-friendly edge
A verdant dot amid the azure of the Indian Ocean, Meerufenfushi embodies a quintessential tropical island down to the powder-white beaches and palm-flanked shores. While it occupies the entire islet, it’s Meeru Island Resort’s adult-only overwater villas that are its standout offering. Stretching out into the lagoon, these private pieces of paradise feel far removed from the stresses of the everyday. Villas here feature stairs that lead directly into the water – perfect for cooling off after spending time in the sun – as well as a whirlpool bath for a deep soak after an active day.
Proximity to kaleidoscopic coral reefs makes Meeru Island a snorkelling hotspot, and a visit to the island’s coral nursery invites you to see how the resort is protecting its local marine life up close. Maldivian heritage also plays a big role here and you’ll have the opportunity to experience it first-hand at the museum, where the island’s history takes centre stage, and at the Duniye Spa, where traditional therapies revitalise the body and mind. You’ll also find a fusion of regional and international dishes at the spa’s restaurant – all made with fresh produce grown in the island garden.
📍 Meerufenfushi Island, North Malé Atoll